Psalm 52:8
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
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(8) But I am like.—The flourishing olive alternates with the vine, in Hebrew poetry, as an emblem of prosperous Israel. (See Jeremiah 11:16; Hosea 14:6.) The epithet “green” hardly refers to the colour so much as the “vigour” of the tree, for the foliage of “wan grey olive wood” cannot be called verdant. But though the olive is scarcely, to our Western eyes, a beautiful tree, “to the Oriental the coolness of the pale-blue foliage, its evergreen freshness, spread like a silver sea along the slopes of the hills, speaks of peace and plenty, food and gladness” (Tristram, Nat. Hist. of the Bible, p. 374).

In the house of God.—Here and in the more elaborate simile (Psalm 92:13) the situation, “in the house of God,” is added to show that the prophecy has come of religious trust. It is quite possible that trees were actually planted in the precincts of the Temple, as they are in the Haram area now, so that the rendering, “near the house of God,” would express a literal fact. Or the whole may be figurative, as in the verse, “like the olive branches round about Thy table.”

Psalm 52:8. I am like a green olive-tree — When Doeg and his brethren shall wither and perish, I, who have made God my refuge; I, whom he despised and persecuted, and thought to be in a desperate condition, shall be established and flourish; in the house of God — In God’s church, and among his people; or, in God’s tabernacle, from which Doeg shall be plucked away; but to which, I doubt not, I shall be restored. “One principal part of the happiness David promised himself was, that he should have a constant admission to the house of God, and the solemnities of his worship there; notwithstanding he was now driven from it by the malice of his enemies.” As “the olive-tree is an evergreen, and therefore of long duration,” and as it also “propagates itself by fresh shoots, being thus far, as it were, immortal; hence the psalmist compares himself to it, to denote the stability and perpetuity of his prosperity, and that of his family; adding, I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever — His promises shall never fail; nor shall those who hate me rejoice over me in my destruction.”52:6-9 Those wretchedly deceive themselves, who think to support themselves in power and wealth without God. The wicked man trusted in the abundance of his riches; he thought his wickedness would help him to keep his wealth. Right or wrong, he would get what he could, and keep what he had, and ruin any one that stood in his way; this he thought would strengthen him; but see what it comes to! Those who by faith and love dwell in the house of God, shall be like green olive-trees there. And that we may be as green olive-trees, we must live a life of faith and holy confidence in God and his grace. It adds much to the beauty of our profession, and to fruitfulness in every grace, to be much in praising God; and we never can want matter for praise. His name alone can be our refuge and strong tower. It is very good for us to wait on that saving name; there is nothing better to calm and quiet our spirits, when disturbed, and to keep us in the way of duty, when tempted to use any crooked courses for our relief, than to hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. None ever followed his guidance but it ended well.But I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God - I am safe and happy, notwithstanding the effort made by my enemy, the informer, to secure my destruction. I have been kept unharmed, like a green and flourishing tree - a tree protected in the very courts of the sanctuary - safe under the care and the eye of God. A green tree is the emblem of prosperity. See Psalm 1:3, note; Psalm 37:35, note; compare Psalm 92:12. The "house of God" here referred to is the tabernacle, considered as the place where God was supposed to reside. See Psalm 15:1, note; Psalm 23:6, note; Psalm 27:4-5, notes. The particular allusion here is to the "courts" of the tabernacle. An olive tree would not be cultivated in the tabernacle, but it might in the "courts" or "area" which surrounded it. The name "house of God" would be given to the whole area, as it was afterward to the entire area in which the temple was. A tree thus planted in the very courts of the sanctuary would be regarded as sacred, and would be safe as long as the tabernacle itself was safe, for it would be, as it were, directly under the divine protection. So David had been, notwithstanding all the efforts of his enemies to destroy him.

I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever -

(a) I "have" always done it. It has been my constant practice in trouble or danger.

(b) I "will" always do it.

As the result of all my experience, I will still do it; and thus trusting in God, I shall have the consciousness of safety.

8. The figure used is common (Ps 1:3; Jer 11:16).


house, &c.—in communion with God (compare Ps 27:4, 5).

for ever and ever—qualifies "mercy."

I am like a green olive tree; when Doeg and his brethren shall wither and perish, I, who have made God my refuge, I, whom he despised and persecuted, and thought to be in a desperate condition, shall be established and flourish.

In the house of God; either,

1. In God’s church, or among his people. Or,

2. In God’s tabernacle, from which Doeg shall be plucked away, Psalm 52:5, and from which I am now banished by the tyranny and malice of this man, and his confederates; but, I doubt not, I shall be restored to it, and dwell in it all the days of my life, which is the one thing that I desire, Psalm 27:4. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God,.... Or rather it should be supplied, "I shall be" (d); since David was at this time an exile from the house of God: and this expresses his faith and confidence, that, notwithstanding his present troubles, he should be restored again, and be in a very flourishing condition, in the church of God; which is here meant by "the house of God": it being of his building, and where he dwells, and where to have a place is the great privilege of the saints; they are planted there by the Lord himself, and shall never be rooted up; they are fixed there, and shall never go out; which was David's confidence, Psalm 23:6; and where he believed he should be as "a green olive tree"; which is a very choice and fruitful tree, has fatness in it, produces an excellent oil; is beautiful to look at; delights in hot climates and sunny places; is found on mountains, we read of the mount of Olives; is ever green and durable, and its leaves and branches are symbols of peace: all which is applicable to truly righteous persons and believers in Christ; who are the excellent of the earth, are filled with the fruits of righteousness; are fat and flourishing; have the oil of grace, the anointing which teacheth all things; are a perfection of beauty, made perfectly comely through Christ's comeliness; thrive under him, the sun of righteousness; grow in the mountain of the Lord's house, the church: their grace is incorruptible, their leaf withers not; they are rooted in Christ, and ever continue; they are the sons of peace, and their last end will be eternal peace. Now as such David was assured he should be, when his enemy would be rooted up out of the land of the living, and cast like a dry and worthless branch into everlasting burnings; the ground of which confidence follows:

I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever; the mercy of God is not only an encouragement to trust, but the object of it; not the absolute mercy of God, but the grace and goodness of God in Christ Jesus, which endures continually, Psalm 52:1; and so does hope in it, which never makes ashamed, but abides to the end. The psalmist seems to have respect to the mercy promised him, that he should sit upon the throne. This he believed, and therefore was assured he should be in the flourishing circumstances in the house of God before mentioned.

(d) "Ero", Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus.

But I am like a {g} green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.

(g) He rejoices to have a place among the servant's of God, that he may grow in the knowledge of godliness.

8. But I am like a green olive tree] R.V., But as for me, I am like a green olive tree, rightly emphasising the contrast between the fate of the wicked man and the hopes of the speaker. But who is the speaker? Is it, as is commonly supposed, the Psalmist? or is the speech of the righteous in Psalm 52:7 continued, but with a transition to the singular, in order more forcibly to express the personal faith of each individual? It makes little difference to the sense: the Psalmist, if he is the speaker, speaks as the representative of the righteous.

like a green olive tree in the house of God] It is possible (cp. Psalm 92:13) that trees grew in the temple courts, as they grow at the present day in the Haram area, and that he compares his prosperity and security to that of the carefully tended trees planted in sacred ground. But more probably two figures are combined. He is like an evergreen olive tree, while the wicked man is rooted up: he is God’s guest, enjoying His favour and protection. For the metaphor of the tree cp. Jeremiah 11:16; Hosea 14:8 (of the nation); Psalm 1:3; Psalm 92:12 ff: and for that of the guest see Psalm 23:6; Psalm 27:4; Psalm 15:1. Note too that God’s house may mean the land of Israel (Hosea 9:15), in which the righteous dwells securely while the wicked man is driven out of it (Psalm 52:5).

mercy] Rather, lovingkindness, as in Psalm 52:1.Verse 8. - But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. In conclusion, the psalmist contrasts his own condition, as one of God's people, with that of Doeg, which he had described in vers. 7-9. Doeg is about to be "plucked up" and "rooted out of the land of the living" (ver. 5); he is like a flourishing green olive tree planted in the sanctuary, or "house of God." Doeg is entirely without any trust in the Almighty (ver. 7); he declares of himself, I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. It is questioned whether olive trees were at any time planted in the courts of either the tabernacle or the temple; but it certainly cannot be proved that they were not. In the courts of Egyptian temples trees were abundant (Herod., 2:138; Wilkinson, in the author's 'Herodotus,' vol. 2. p. 236), also probably in Phoenician temples (Perrot and Chipiez, ' Histoire de l'Art dans l'An-tiquite,' vol. 3. p. 322). And to this day there grow in the Hardin area at Jerusalem, on the site of the Jewish temple, a number of magnificent cypresses, olive, and lemon trees. It is bad enough to behave wickedly, but bad in the extreme to boast of it at the same time as an heroic act. Doeg, who causes a massacre, not, however, by the strength of his hand, but by the cunning of his tongue, does this. Hence he is sarcastically called גּבּור (cf. Isaiah 5:22). David's cause, however, is not therefore lost; for it is the cause of God, whose loving-kindness endures continually, without allowing itself to be affected, like the favour of men, by calumny. Concerning הוּות vid., on Psalm 5:10. לשׁון is as usual treated as fem; עשׂה רמיּה (according to the Masora with Tsere) is consequently addressed to a person. In Psalm 52:5 רע after אהבתּ has the Dagesh that is usual also in other instances according to the rule of the אתי מרחיק, especially in connection with the letters כפתבגד (with which Resh is associated in the Book of Jezira, Michlol 96b, cf. 63b).

(Note: אתי מרחיק is the name by which the national grammarians designate a group of two words, of which the first, ending with Kametz or Segol, has the accent on the penult., and of which the second is a monosyllable, or likewise is accented on the penult. The initial consonant of the second word in this case receives a Dagesh, in order that it may not, in consequence of the first ictus of the group of words "coming out of the distance," i.e., being far removed, be too feebly and indistinctly uttered. This dageshing, however, only takes place when the first word is already of itself Milel, or at least, as e.g., מצאה בּית, had a half-accented penult., and not when it is from the very first Milra and is only become Milel by means of the retreating of the accent, as עשׂה פלא, Psalm 78:12, cf. Deuteronomy 24:1. The penultima-accent has a greater lengthening force in the former case than in the latter; the following syllables are therefore uttered more rapidly in the first case, and the Dagesh is intended to guard against the third syllable being too hastily combined with the second. Concerning the rule, vid., Baer's Thorath Emeth, p. 29f.)

The מן or מטּוב and מדּבּר is not meant to affirm that he loves good, etc., less than evil, etc., but that he does not love it at all (cf. Psalm 118:8., Habakkuk 2:16). The music which comes in after Psalm 52:5 has to continue the accusations con amarezza without words. Then in Psalm 52:6 the singing again takes them up, by addressing the adversary with the words "thou tongue of deceit" (cf. Psalm 120:3), and by reproaching him with loving only such utterances as swallow up, i.e., destroy without leaving a trace behind (בּלע, pausal form of בלע, like בּצע in Psalm 119:36, cf. the verb in Psalm 35:25, 2 Samuel 17:16; 2 Samuel 20:19.), his neighbour's life and honour and goods. Hupfeld takes Psalm 52:6 as a second object; but the figurative and weaker expression would then follow the unfigurative and stronger one, and "to love a deceitful tongue" might be said with reference to this character of tongue as belonging to another person, not with reference to his own.

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